Rittal Blog

The Importance of Designing Automation Systems Using Components You Can Source

May 27 2022 by Rittal North America LLC


The complexity and uncertainty of today’s industrial landscape has manufacturers opting for solutions that provide stability. Whether the challenge is supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, or the increasing costs of materials and resources, automation designers and engineers are too often put in the position to design industrial automation solutions without being certain the component parts they specify can be sourced.

The dynamics of the manufacturing process are fundamentally changing the way automation architects design and how they spec industrial enclosures, cooling units, and power distribution systems. Specifically, the instability of the last two years is prompting engineers to rethink the link between customization, installation, and integration in an industrial world built on speed and efficiency.

Taking all of these factors into account, let’s examine a couple reasons why it’s becoming increasingly important for engineers to design automation systems using components that can actually be sourced.

Creating a more stable supply chain

The recent disruptions in global supply chain logistics, labor shortages, and slowdowns in production have served to increase lead times and costs for manufacturers, including panel builders and machine builders. This means engineers whose designs include industrial automation need to spec enclosures that can be completed and ready to deploy in a timely manner and in a way that helps reduce the downtime associated with building, installing, and integrating new equipment.

Many U.S. based manufacturers have spent the last two years reshoring to help ensure the parts they spec don’t get caught up in logistics issues halfway around the world. Rittal’s dedication to providing industrial automation solutions to support businesses in the U.S. helps machine builders, panel builders, and systems integrators remove a number of steps in their supply chains. Rittal is a global manufacturer and system solutions provider with U.S. production and modification centers in Urbana, Ohio; Sparks, Nevada; and Houston, Texas. We can provide innovative industrial automation products to manufacturers across the country quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

In addition, our regional network of distribution centers helps best serve manufacturers via a robust inventory of products and solutions for fast order fulfillment and reduced delivery timelines. This further streamlines the supply chain and provides greater peace of mind that an engineer’s design can be produced without prolonged disruptions in production programs.

A move toward standardized enclosures

The variety of applications and deployment scenarios in modern manufacturing leads many engineers to believe they need custom enclosures that are specific to each application. While customization certainly can have value in solving unique challenges in industries as disparate as food & beverage, automotive, and material handling, customization can also prove problematic for designers and engineers who are looking to help manufacturers reduce lead time or downtime associated with the integration processes.

A move toward specifying standardized automation equipment — specifically control panel and enclosure solutions — can still help manufacturers address a variety of specific challenges while eliminating the delays often associated with designing custom enclosures.

The modularity and flexibility of Rittal industrial enclosures allows machine builders, panel builders, and systems integrators to leverage standard enclosures to solve specific challenges for a variety of manufacturers.

For example, Rittal’s TS 8 modular enclosure offers nearly limitless configurations due to its interchangeable panels and bayable enclosure systems. Plus, with IP 66 and NEMA 4 protection options, the TS 8 is a versatile industrial enclosure that can be deployed in a variety of environments for optimized reliability and productivity.

This same level of standardized flexibility also applies to our VX SE free-standing enclosure. The space-saving nature of the VX SE allows system integrators to scale based on demand or space constraints of the production room floor. The VX SE offers a wide range of dimensions with widths up to 1800 mm to replace up to three baying enclosures and depths as shallow as 300 mm for confined production applications. With a unibody construction and IP 66 and NEMA 4/4X protection options, the VX SE is ready for deployment in a variety of applications, no customization required.

Standardizing on the TS 8 or VX SE enclosure system will enable growth as facility needs and demands change. Additionally, these enclosures allow for easy panel modification to create a custom control panel solution. This process is made easier with Rittal Automation Systems and EPLAN.

Unlock efficiency and sustainability

It’s no secret that optimizing efficiency is the name of the game for manufacturers regardless of their industry. It’s also no secret that sustainable manufacturing is a top-tier concern for manufacturers as the global emphasis on green production programs continues to develop and advance. For this reason, engineers must also consider compatible enclosure climate control when designing automation systems.

Sourcing energy-efficient climate control units that are designed to work hand-in-hand with the specified enclosures allows engineers to create smart, sustainable automation solutions — and can even help reduce the end user’s carbon footprint.

Our Blue e+ cooling units use innovative cooling technology via a hybrid cooling process that increases airflow throughout the enclosure. A combination of active and passive cooling mechanisms provides precise, consistent cooling outputs that can reduce energy usage by up to 75%. In addition, our IoT adapter uses Industry 4.0 and IIoT principles to create a digitalized, connected interface with real-time performance data, remote monitoring, and network alerts.

While the Blue e+ is a powerful climate control solution for manufacturers to consider when analyzing the efficiency of their climate systems, our extensive climate control line offers solutions to fit a variety of facility needs. Air-to-air heat exchangers, air-to-water heat exchangers, chillers, and filter fan units also help engineers create consistent, reliable cooling for long-term production and energy savings. And specifying enclosures, climate control, and power distribution solutions from one source ensures compatibility and a simpler supply chain.

With Rittal, designing an automation framework using components you can actually obtain is now easier than ever. Experience the power of online enclosure configuration with our new RiPanel enclosure configuration tool, or identify the climate control system for your needs in just three easy steps with our ClimateControl QuickFinder.